I came across a quote by Danielle LaPorte which asked, “can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”
This spoke loud and clear to me as I fought back tears because the quote further confirmed things I felt the Holy Spirit had been communicating to me about myself and who I was now.
For quite a while now, I have been battling with a different kind of self esteem issue: I genuinely feel like my experiences in life have stripped me of my true, fun-loving, life-living and care-free self and in turn left me with a self-conscious and guarded self who over calculates everything and is afraid to take the first step until conditions are at least near perfect.
Starting a blog was one of the happenings in my life that really brought me to confront this new person I had become. I felt I had to be a certain way even more so after I got baptised because I thought, “I have to be a more solid Christian now and I have to be and do and speak different“, based on the ideologies I had set for myself unconsciously from following examples or listening to the “advice”of people around me, mere mortals like myself, as opposed to the best example of Jesus Christ. For the first time, I began to understand why Christians can appear to be some of the most miserable people in the world.
The reason my blog highlighted this for me was because I knew the direction God had given me when he laid it on my heart to start writing but it was just a matter of time before I over-analysed everything and started to drift off the path He had sent me on – I began to feel rigid and extra critical of my blog content. I was trying hard to be who I thought I was supposed to be, by other people’s standards, that I dulled the light of who God made me to be. I was more set on ‘getting it right” but, right by whose criteria exactly?
These feelings were maskable for a while because although my consistency on the blog began to slip, I could still rely on waves of inspiration from my personal experiences to get me by. But deep down inside I was always battling with whether people would like the content or whether it was too much “God speak” or whether it would generate more buzz etc. I was more interested, subconsciously, in catering to everyone that I forgot I was mainly God’s mouthpiece regardless of whether what I have to say is popular or not. That’s why it was no surprise to me, when the Holy Spirit began prompting me about vlogs, that I started to freak out again. I freaked because as I watched videos of other popular YouTubers, I knew it would only work for me if I got back something I had lost: The Real Me before life subdued it.
On my quest to get back to the real Stephanie I’ve come to learn and understand a few truths about how to not let people, Christian or otherwise, obscure who I am:
- As Pastor Kim Pothier puts it, Christianity is really NOT about a “do this and don’t do that” mentality but rather it is a “when you come to know Jesus all thoughts and desires change”. The changed thoughts and desires I have now are actually less to do with sin and more to do with real ground breaking God-given aspirations, goals and missions that are so big I know it’s only going to happen by the grace of God backing up my efforts.
- Jesus was non-conformist except to God’s will and accordingly the Bible encourages us Christians to follow suit: “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Romans chapter 12 verse 2 AMP). Religion and religious people have the tendency to be superficial and because we can only see what humans present to us most of the time, we can model ourselves against an ideal that may be right but not righteous. If you don’t begin to feel like you are closer to proving what the will of God for you is, then it might be time to renew your mind and question the ideals imposed on you.
- I am “…His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for me] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that I would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for me]” (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 AMP – emphasis mine). If God created me with certain characteristics and traits, it is because the paths He has planned for me will require these characteristics and traits to navigate. I have no business tampering with my mechanism on account of anyone else.
- While it is beneficial to seek wise counsel from more spiritually mature people, it is also key to know that, “As for you, the anointing [the special gift, the preparation] which you received from Him remains [permanently] in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But just as His anointing teaches you [giving you insight through the presence of the Holy Spirit] about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as His anointing has taught you, you must remain in Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him]” (1 John chapter 2 verse 27 AMP – emphasis mine). I believe we have been anointed (specially graced with access to physical, mental and spiritual resources) for whatever purpose God has for us and we also have the Holy Spirit in us. If we learn to pay more attention to our inward witness or deep instinct/intuition, we will be able to spot when something is just not right for us including some of the counsel we get from others and; even ventures we should just not bother going into because we don’t have the anointing for it i.e. it might be a lot more of a struggle and we might eventually realise it has nothing to do with our “bigger picture”.
In conclusion, your identity is rooted in God and the more you spend time with God, the more you will be reminded of who you really are NOT what others say you should be. On that note, I leave you with some Disney wisdom 🙂
[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDN8aoR4TI” ]
’cause it’s The Steph Way